Moves to ration roads inspections and maintenance will radically undermine road safety
June 23rd: Unite’s Regional Industrial Officer with responsibility for employees at the Transport NI (Roads Service), Gareth Scott called on the Minister for Regional Development, Danny Kennedy, to clarify publicly the impact of ‘fantasy budget’ cuts on roads maintenance:
“Unite has led the way in raising concerns about the safety impact of the drastic cuts to the Transport NI budget. We have exposed how workers have been confined to clearing depots because of the rationing of diesel for vehicles and tar and concrete to patch potholes.
“Our members are now telling us of moves to ration roads maintenance work under the ‘skeleton service’ provision. This will see inspections reduced from a four-monthly to a six-monthly rota. We also understand that management are considering even more drastic alternatives for non-priority roads which will see repair work only being undertaken following complaints from members of the public.
“If this is correct, we would be extremely concerned. We are calling on the Minister to inform the public of the changes his Department plans to make to roads maintenance. While we acknowledge that his Department has born a disproportionate share of the cuts in the ‘fantasy budget’ agreed by the DUP and Sinn Féin, decisions that will undermine road safety cannot be justified as the price paid will be measured in lives lost rather than pounds spent.
“Reducing inspections will compromise road safety. At a time when bus and rail service cuts are forcing more and more people into reliance onto our roads – these cuts are indefensible. This move will lead to carnage on secondary, rural roads and will degrade roads infrastructure in our towns and cities leading to further economic dislocation”, Mr Scott concluded.